Intercepts

The National Security Agency is working around the clock to detect and react to computer network attacks

NSA: Foreign Workers Wanted?

The National Security Agency is working around the clock to detect and react to computer network attacks—an effort requiring a lot of skilled people, said Michael Jacobs, the agency's information assurance director.

But NSA has had a hard time recruiting people with the necessary expertise, and the problem is exacerbated by the agency's requirement that candidates be U.S. citizens. Most computer science graduates in this country, Jacobs said, are not U.S. citizens. Because of the agency's role in producing foreign intelligence information, officials are wary of eliminating the U.S. citizenship requirement.

"There may come a time, though, when the available supply will become so difficult that you're going to have to make that front-end investment and find ways to go through a process that would get non-U.S. citizens cleared," Jacobs said. He added that if the agency could do as it pleased, "rather than buying the manpower through a contractor," it would hire its own IT workers—"perhaps in the many hundreds." Show Me the Money

The Air Force is still struggling to repair its new personnel data system — known as Military Modernization (MilMod)—which went online in June after a few delays.

Reports of serious pay problems are flying in to local units, and some of those reports are true, according to Maj. Gen. Michael McMahan, Air Force Personnel Center commander. "We [are] working on every level—directly with the individuals, with local finance offices and with other agencies, like the Defense Finance and Accounting Service, to get people paid, paid right and paid on time," McMahan said in a written statement. The good news is the cause of the problems has been identified and a fix is in the works.

Hooray for Hackers

For anyone thinking it will be a cold day in hell before Defense Department officials applaud illegal cyberattacks, throw another log on the fire.

During a speech at the Montgomery, Ala., Air Force Information Technology Conference, Lt. Gen. John Woodward, Air Force director of communications and information, said that when a U.S. EP-3's emergency landing in China last April set off a scuffle between U.S. and Chinese cybervandals—who attacked each other's home turf—the U.S. side kicked booty.

Woodward referred to the two sides as "special interest groups" and said that for every attack on U.S. computers, the American hackers hit at least 10 Chinese sites. "Good ol' United States—amazing place, isn't it? We're a pretty good country."

The Hackers Union of America seemed to get together and decide "the fight's on," Woodward said. "Why do you think it stopped? It stopped because the Chinese said, 'Timeout.' That wasn't the government or the armed forces. That was Amer.i.ca. That was awesome to me. I loved it, by the way. I absolutely loved it."

Lt. Gen. Harry Raduege, director of the Defense Information Systems Agency, did not cheer the U.S. side but hinted he was refraining because reporters were in the room. Raduege said the illegal cyber activity was reported to law enforcement officials, and he did not know if the feds succeeded in tracking down any wrongdoers. "But that's their problem," he said. DLA, Here I Come

Larry Glasco, Naval Supply System Command exec.utive director, is trading in that job title, which is relatively short by Defense Department standards, for one much more difficult to remember. Glasco will depart the command in mid-October to become executive director of readiness and customer support for the Defense Logistics Agency and will relocate to DLA headquarters in Fort Belvoir, Va.

Intercept something? Send it to antenna@fcw.com.

NEXT STORY: White House hires a CIO

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